Learn Korean Online: How To Say Hi in Korean

There are 3 main ways to say hi or hello in Korean, and they are based on levels of respect and formality.

The first hi in Korean is the highest form of respect and formality, which really would be more of a hello than a hi, but it goes…

안녕하십니까? (The romanization is something like…Anyoung Hashimnikka?, but I really don’t recommend you use romanization to learn how to say it – learning how to read Korean can be done in literally a few hours if you really have at it).

The next, and probably most common way of saying hello or hi in Korean is…

안녕하세요 (this one is a bit more casual than the first, but still quite formal – you would almost never greet someone older than you or in a higher “position” in anything less formal than this)

And the third and also very common way of saying hi in Korean is just the first two syllables of the two above examples…

안녕! (this is very commonly used, but only ever with someone you are familiar with and is the same age as you, or someone younger than you or in a lower “position” than you). Watch the video (coming soon) for some help with pronunciation.

And if you don’t yet know how to read but would like to, in literally an hour from now you’ll be able to if you just stick your name and email in the box on the right just under the big red ‘FREE’ sign. You’ll be able to watch some vids taken from an in-class course teaching exactly that.



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Leave A Reply (13 comments so far)

  1. Hey Rob,

    I’ve seen 안녕하세요 written with a question mark before. Although it wasn’t quite in this sort of context, I believe it would be similar to saying “Hello?” (as in asking if someone is there).
    So how ’bout it? Is that correct?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Hey Galinaros,

    Yeah, hello is just the contextual translation ’cause that’s how people greet each other, where we would say hello. But the actual translation of ‘안녕’ is peace, tranquility, good health, well-being, and as a verb (with the ~하다) ending, it translates as ‘to be well’ or ‘to be in good health’.

    So the greetings are actually questions with the basic meaning of “Are you well?”

    It’s actually funny, something that takes a bit of getting used to, ’cause most people just learn it means hello, and so a lot of times when you say it to someone, they respond with a ‘예’ meaning ‘yes’.

    A short example dialogue to show you what I mean…

    A: Hello.
    B. Yes.
    A. Huh?…

    So yeah, it is actually a question, but contextually just used as hello.


  3. Ah, that makes sense… This is why I can’t cope with general translations.
    Anyway, I’ve seen that sort of greeting before, so it clicks easily. Thanks :D

    And yes, I can easily imagine that situation. ;)


    very well explained!~
    but it will be much better if there’s a video..
    so that we will be able to know how it pronunced.
    but still, it was very good.
    it helps a lot.

  5. Hi Jessica,

    You’re very right about that. Originally I just made that in
    response to a question from another site, but yeah, I should
    definitely get on making a video for that.


  6. Ama

    This is really helpful!!! But how do you say Goodbye?

  7. Hi,

    There are a couple slightly different ways to say goodbye, depending on if you’re the person staying (and the other person is leaving) or you’re the person leaving (and the other person is staying).

    If you’re the person leaving, it’s 안녕히 게세요
    If you’re the person staying, you can say 안녕히 가세요 (you can also say 잘가(요) – “Go well.”)

    However, that can all be a bit confusing and hinder your fluency when trying to speak so I’m going to give you a tip – the exact way I do it. I NEVER differentiate between hello (안녕하세요) or goodbye. Say them quick enough (almost slurring it all together) and they all sound basically the same. I’ve been using this technique in Korea for 6 years now and it is always fine, and actually, the day I started doing it, I started getting compliments on how well I spoke (even though I’d only said “Hello”). Hope that helps!

  8. Sorry, I made a slight mistake in my spelling. For goodbye when leaving (and the other person is staying), I wrote 안녕히 게세요. It should be 안녕히 계세요 (계, not 게).